Film is often linked to emotive forms of creativity or even creative ways of expressing emotion. Artificial intelligence on the other hand connotes the opposite: equations, facts, science. So how can one marry into the other’s world?
As human creatives some of us also tend to pride ourselves on being uniquely human, in possessing a gift, talent and/or skill that AI could never dream of replicating. However, the world of cinema is starting to open its doors to the possibility of introducing AI.
Warner Brothers has recently signed a deal with Cinelytic, whose smart technology can predict box office success before production even begins, and offers suggestions on the most profitable actors to use to boost popularity. It is, however, unclear as to whether repeating the same successful formula over and over again can even be considered creative.
The beauty about AI’s potential role in film is that it’s simply another voice at the table. Filmmaking is a multi-faceted form of creativity. It’s not something that originates and forms from one person only — it’s very much a collaborative process. Treating an AI as a collaborator effectively brings a different opinion and a fresh outlook. It’s like introducing an additional writer to the writer’s room or welcoming an assistant editor to the montage.
A machine can store a considerable amount more knowledge than a person, which arguably makes this new opinion more valuable. It can open up a conversation about different approaches that haven’t been considered, things the human mind would never have thought up. It can push storytelling forward by generating an almost limitless amount of ideas and inspiration for human creatives to bounce off.
It also can make the process faster. A lot faster. An AI can complete tasks in a fraction of the time it would take a human, and instead of seeing this as a threat, filmmakers might start seeing it as a practical resource.
An example of this human/machine workflow working to full effect is in our latest production Fellini Forward, an AI-infused short film created by Campari, Wunderman Thompson Italy, and UNIT9. As part of the drinks brand’s Red Diaries series, the film uses AI to bring the creative genius of Federico Fellini to life, learning from his past transcripts to create a whole new piece of cinema that should feel authentically Felliniesque. From scriptwriting to pre-visualisation, the AI worked alongside the film team and came up with its “Fellini Vision” for the script, edit and camera work.
So what do you think? Will we be seeing more use of AI in cinema? Only time will tell…
Maximilian Niemann at UNIT9